Congratulations on your acceptance to the Smith in Paris program! There are a number of steps that must be completed to prepare for your year in Paris and to apply for your student visa. The French government requires all students staying longer than three months to obtain a student visa before arriving in France.
If you have any questions about any of the paperwork, please ask! Better to ask a "silly" question than to make a mistake and have your visa application denied.
Please complete each step below by the dates given. Read all instructions and follow them to the letter.
When entering dates, use the European format of dd MON yyyy (e.g., 12 Oct 2012).
Step 1: French Visa Application Overview
Students who hope to participate in the Smith in Paris program must have a valid passport when they apply to the program, valid six months beyond the planned time abroad. A copy of the passport photo page or proof of application or renewal must be submited with the program application.
Students studying on the Smith in Paris program will apply for their long-stay student visas independently. Guidance is provided by the Office for International Study, but students are responsible for researching, understanding and following visa application requirements, which vary by French consulate. Students may apply to the French consulate in Boston or the consulate responsible for their home state.
Things to Consider
Before making any summer plans, students intending to study in Paris must consider the following:
- Applicants must appear in person at the consulate to apply for a visa; applications are not accepted by mail.
- Visa applications cannot be made more than 90 days in advance of departure for France.
- Applying for a French visa requires surrender of the passport to the French consulate for a period of two to four weeks.
Step 2: Homestay Questionnaire - March 25
Please complete the homsetay questionnaire by no later than March 25th.
Step 3: Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) - late March/early April
March 25th: Deadline to mail the TCF Registration Form with a $170 check (made payable to "French and Francophone Studies, University of Massachusetts at Amherst") to the following address:
University of Massachusetts Amherst TCF Examination Center
French and Francophone Studies
Herter Hall 315
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
TCF Registration Form (PDF) This is a writable form so please type the information before printing.
April 26th, 9:00 AM: TCF Exam at UMass-Amherst. The exam comprises of two sessions that last one and a half hours each. Students should not expect to be back on campus before 2:00 pm at the earliest.
More information about the TCF exam as well as access to practice tests can be found here:
Step 4: Determine where you will apply for your visa – April 5
You will receive an e-mail about visa application planning. Send an e-mail in response with where and when (approximately) you will apply for your French student visa.
Step 5: Associate Director Meetings – April 15 - 19
Marie-Madeleine Charlier, associate director of the Smith in Paris program, will visit Smith April 15–19. Individual meetings for each student will be scheduled for April 17, 18 and 19. Marie-Madeleine will also meet with the whole group during the second half of the mandatory pre-departure orientation on April 17.
Step 6: CampusFrance Registration – April 15
The first step to applying for a French student visa is to register with CampusFrance.
1. Scroll over the "Applications" tab and click on "Students Already Accepted Into a Program or an Institution in France" and the follow the link for "Study Abroad or Exchage Students". Follow the steps explained here, including downloading the guide.
Remember, you are a study abroad student, not applying for admission to a French university.
Also, be sure to write down your login and password as you will need them.
If you have questions as you complete the CampusFrance form, please come by the Office for International Study and ask!
2. After validating your CampusFrance form, follow instructions to mail a $100 money order (available at CVS or the Northampton Post Office) and copy of your acceptance letter from Smith (to be provided at the pre-departure orienation) to CampusFrance in Washington, DC.
3. Two weeks after you have postmarked your money order and acceptance letter, log into your CampusFrance account to see if you have been approved. Print two copies of the "Attestation" — you will need one for your visa application.
Turn in the other at OIS, no later than May 1. If after three weeks you have not received approval, contact CampusFrance through your CampusFrance account to inquire.
Step 7: Predeparture Orientation – April 17, 5:00-8:00, Seelye 206
All students attending the Smith in Paris program must attend this meeting.
Step 8: French Placement Test – April 26
Please complete the French Placement Test by April 26th. The results of this test will be used to place you in the appropriate French language course in Paris.
In addition to following the instructions on the test itself, please note:
- This form must be opened in Microsoft Word. Please TYPE all of your answers.
French Placement Test (DOC)
- Once you're finished, save the test using this naming convention:
- Send your test as an attachment to:
Marie-Madeleine Charlier, Associate Director
Step 9: Schedule Visa Appointment – May 1
Using your consulate's online visa appointment system, schedule your visa appointment for sometime between June 3 and July 15. Do not schedule an appointment for later than July 15. Make two copies of your visa appointment confirmation. Take one with you to your visa appointment, and turn in the other at OIS no later than May 1.
Step 10: Predeparture Information – May 15
1. Emergency Contact Information
This form must be opened in Microsoft Word. Please TYPE all of your answers into the form. Give as much information as possible. On page two, list the people who should be contacted in the event of an emergency. If you want us to contact your parents, list your parents on page two.
Emergency Contact Info (DOC)
Once you have completed the form, save it using this naming convention:
And send it as an attachment to the OIS administrative coordinator.
2. Summer Address and Travel Information
Please complete your summer contact information now, and provide your travel plans to Paris as soon as you know them (note that you may need to book your flight in order to complete the visa application process). You can return to this link to update your information as needed.
Step 11: Visa Application - June 3
Review the list of documents required by your consulate. Prepare all your materials with the correct number of copies and payment in the correct form well in advance of your visa appointment. The items listed below may or may not be required by your consulate.
Visa Application Form
Use care in entering dates! Give the Smith JYA program and address as your host institution and also as your address during your stay. If your form asks about your study, say something like "etudes littéraires à Paris IV," and give the the Smith Center address again. For means of support, list Smith College and your family. If you receive financial aid from Smith, answer yes to the scholarship question.
This form must be pristine in presentation both to the consulate and to the authorities in France. No cross-outs or white out are allowed for this document. If you make a mistake, use a new original.
Proof of Registration/Letter of Enrollment/Proof of Accomodation
Marie-Madeleine will provide you with one letter in French that meets each of these requirements.
Smith OIS will give you a letter stating that your tuition, room and board are prepaid, and that you'll get a stipend of at least 200 euros per month. At most consulates, you must also show proof of additional financial support.
Return of your passport: If your consulate will return your passport via mail, be sure to also bring the proper return mail materials.
Please notify the OIS administrative coordinator when you receive your visa.